How do we avoid making things worse with the solution?
In the last post, I talked about IT, finance, and sourcing managers not wanting to admit they have a problem. But even those who know they need help don’t always get it. Why?
IT solution – The last barrier to cross is trust in being able to find the IT solution without breaking something else in the process. Sometimes, in private moments, execs will tell us “yeah, I’m not really ok. But the cure is worse than the disease. You look into solving a headache and next thing you know salespeople for some IT snake oil of the day are ringing your phone off the hook – or your boss is inviting consultants to waste your time to tell you what you already knew.” It’s no wonder even people who know they have a problem almost reflexively say “No thanks.”
We all make decisions we later regret. Admitting you have a problem may be one of them. So maybe your first pass is at a fix. But when you ask people their biggest regrets in life, it’s more often the good things they didn’t do than the dumb things they did. And it’s no different in business – not trying to be the best leader you can will cause you far more regrets than trying and failing to do better.
We typically find that the biggest regrets our customers have is not about a single outage or painful transformation, but the long-term failure to scale and bring balance to supplier relationships. It’s seldom about saving money; for most of these companies, it’s about failing to keep up with the demands of success – being beholden to suppliers or having talented staff overwhelmed by non-core processes that should have been automated or outsourced long ago.
It’s often difficult in the hurly-burly of running a company to stop long enough to consider what can be done more efficiently. We’re all getting slammed by email, and texts, and messaging services. We all have incoming calls and endless projects and sales calls and meetings to distract us.
The irony, of course, is that when things are going fast and hard, when you and your team barely can keep up with daily demands of your work, that’s exactly when a company should stop and take a look at its operations.
All those daily distractions are why knowledgeable outside help can be so useful, bringing a practiced and objective eye and the ability to focus on specific issues. It’s all too easy to ignore the bigger questions, but of course that’s when problems can most easily grow and fester.
And instead of finding reasons to be afraid of outside help, companies and their leaders should be congratulated for understanding the value of such assistance. The outside help is there to do just that, help. It’s there to amplify what you do, to bring specialized expertise and deep knowledge and most importantly, the ability to focus on a specific problem.
IT Solution: So bring in the experts. What are you afraid of?
When someone approaches you about ways to reduce costs and improve operations, maybe instead of saying, “No thanks, we’ve already got that under control,” try something smarter and with more long-term vision, like, “Thanks, let’s go take a look. We can always get better. “
Because that’s the attitude that gets a company to the next level. Know your limits, know your blind spots, get help pushing through both. That’s when you’ll really have things under control. That’s when you’ll really be okay.
Coming up in the third part of our series: how fast-growth companies are most likely to fall into the trap of not seeking help – and how they can take the time to be more than OK